Are You A Molinist?
If ever you have struggled coming to terms with where you stand on the issue of Divine Sovereignty aka determinism versus human freedom or free will, you may find yourself comfortably in the camp of Molinism.
Many Christians believe that they must fall into one of two theological camps:
Calvinism | TULIP This link takes you to a quick but complete summary of the acronym, TULIP.
The 5 points of Calvinism point to complete Divine Sovereignty over Man’s Life, leading to once saved, always saved. A Grace/Unconditional framework.
1 T for Total Depravity
2. U for Unconditional Election
3. L for Limited Atonement
4. I for Irresistible Grace
5. P for Perseverance of the Saints
Arminianism | DAISY This link will take you to a quick summary that explains each of the 5 points of the acronym, DAISY.
The 5 points of Arminianism point to Man’s Free Will in accepting Christ as Savior, and therefore, the subsequent ability to lose his salvation. In other words, it’s not necessarily once saved, always saved. An obedience/conditional framework.
1a. D for Diminished Depravity
2a. A for Abrogated Election
3a. I for Impersonal Atonement
4a. S for Sedentary Grace
5a. Y for Yieldable Justification
For people who are not prepared to tiptoe through the TULIP bed nor can comfortably run unencumbered through the DAISY field, maybe the promises of a ROSE garden are more aligned with your scriptural understanding.
Here is an excerpt of the article written by Chilton, that explains the 5 points of Molinism | ROSES:
R = Radical depravity. Radical depravity takes the place of the Calvinist doctrine of total depravity. Radical depravity holds that humans are depraved to the point that they cannot save themselves. However, this depravity does not remove one’s divine image given to them by the Creator. Thus, the human being is unable to save oneself, however this does not mean that he or she could not respond to God’s grace when given.
O = Overcoming grace. Overcoming grace replaces irresistible grace. Rather than holding that a person cannot respond to God’s grace, Molinists hold that God’s grace is able to overcome the depraved human condition leading to a place where the person can respond positively or negatively to God’s free offer of grace.
S = Sovereign election. Sovereign election replaces the unconditional election portion of TULIP. Molinists hold that God knows each person so completely that he knows how each person will respond in certain circumstances (e.g., Pharaoh’s hardened heart in Exodus). Thus, God elects to save those whom he knows will respond to his grace, but this knowledge does not come from the person, but rather within the mind of God. God knows everything about everyone before anything was created. See point three for a further description of the Molinist’s view of divine sovereignty.
E = Eternal assurance. Rather than emphasizing the perseverance of the saints, which can be construed to mean that not everyone who makes a profession of faith will persevere, the Molinist (at least many Evangelical Molinists) holds that a person’s salvation is assured because of the working of God in the person’s salvation. God’s promises are always true.
S = Singular redemption. The last S of Molinism’s ROSES replaces limited atonement in TULIP. This doctrine holds that Christ’s death was powerful enough to cover the sins of the world, but only applies to those who respond to God’s grace by faith. Thus, Christ’s atoning work was sufficient to save the world, but efficient to save only the elect.
In summary: Molinism points to both God’s Divine Sovereignty and Man’s ability to respond to God’s grace, either positively or negatively. Molinism seems to be a Grace/Obedience unconditional framework that also better justifies and explains the gracious and merciful role of progressive sanctification in the lives of believers.
My comment against the anti-molinists: They forget that regardless of the ‘man-made logic’ of counterfactuals, God’s Will Be Done; God works all things for the Good, and reasons for this particular unfolding of God’s plans on Earth rather than any ‘counterfactual’ may be based on His perfect timing (not necessarily the most efficient, although it certainly can be…but He is long-suffering so that ALL may come to repentance… thereby revealing an unfolding that achieves His purposes, for His Glory as He Wills.) He has 7 billion plus souls with free wills, and to bring His prophetic Words to fulfillment, often on the exact day, reveals the truth, power and glory of the Holy Father, Creator of All.
He gives grace as The Divine Sovereign:
“I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name, Yahweh. And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy to whom I will show mercy.”